A Native’s Guide to Visiting Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
I was born in the Dominican Republic(DR), and have traveled to Punta Cana more times than I can remember. Punta Cana is truly a Caribbean paradise, with infinite miles of white sand beaches, great food, music, and affordable all-inclusive hotels.A friend who was preparing for her honeymoon in Punta Cana recently asked me for tips while there.
Since I often find myself sharing the same eight tips with people planning to visit the Dominican Republic, I decided to write them down for you all! Here they are:
1. No need to exchange dollars into pesos
Save the conversion fee! If you plan to stay in Punta Cana, and not travel to local places, you do not need pesos. Punta Cana is a tourist friendly city and they accept dollars everywhere, even the cabs! Just try to bring your money in smaller denominations as it might be hard to get change for anything over a $20 dollar bill.
2. Book a cab to and from the airport through your hotel, or a reliable company before you get there
When I visit Punta Cana I always arrange transportation with the hotel. The truth is, once you get to the airport you will get overwhelmed with transportation offers, and there is no way for you to know which companies are legitimate, and which are not.
3. DO NOT drink tap water
The tap water in Dominican Republic is not potable, even locals drink bottled water. So, don’t take the chance, and ask for bottled water at the resort, it’s all inclusive anyways!
4. Tip for great service
As many third world countries, people in the Dominican Republic don’t have good salaries, so if someone provides you with great service, tip them! It will go a long way and be greatly appreciated. The norm is 10-20%, but you can get away with tipping dollar bills at the hotel’s all inclusive bars (if the bartender see dollar bills, you will be compensated with more alcohol!).
5. Visit Isla Saona
Isla Saona is a deserted Island in the DR, and one of DR’s best kept secrets. I have seen many beaches around the world, and only few could compare. So when visiting Punta Cana, book a day trip with your hotel concierge and experience this breath taking paradise for yourself.
6. Bring back Mamajuana and rum as souvenirs instead
Forget the key chains and the T-shirts. DR is known for its rum, mamajuana, (rum, red wine, and honey soaked in a bottle with tree bark and herbs) coffee, and sugar production, so buy those things instead!
7. Try a Coca-Cola
I usually don’t drink soda, but when I go to DR I have to have a Coca-Cola. Since DR produces its own sugar, the Coca-Cola there taste 100% better than in the States- trust me!
8. Enjoy your hotel’s night club
Most hotels have their own nightclub with ALL INCLUSIVE DRINKS! So why go through the hassle of paying for a cab and exploring outside of your hotel when you could have; great music, free drinks and an easy walk home. However, if you are feeling a little adventurous, checkout the other hotels’ night clubs, like Mangu Disco at Hotel Occidental Grand Punta Cana.
Thanks for reading!
Please comment below with any questions.